Innsbruck’s Christmas Markets: A combination of city walk and sparkling lights

Last updated on 03.10.2019

Just at the right time, when it’s starting to get dark outside earlier, Innsbruck is bathed in sparkling and very atmospheric Christmas lights. Whether you’re ambling along an avenue glittering with illuminated crystal trees or strolling beneath a carpet of light – a walk through the city to the six Christmas markets, as part of the Innsbruck’s Christmas in the Mountains event, is always a really special experience.

Walks to Explore: six Christmas markets
With the motto “Walks to Explore” there are seven beautifully conceived walks in Innsbruck – “discovery tours” – each with a different theme, enabling you to explore on foot (or by bike) and get to know both the familiar and the unknown, the popular landmarks and the city’s hidden treasures. “Modern Life and Quiet Reflection” is the title of the city walk that takes in Innsbruck’s six Christmas markets and leads visitors through the atmospheric illuminated streets and alleyways.

Each of the magical Christmas markets has a character of its own: for romantics or families, high above the city or in the oldest part of the city – the magic of Christmas in Innsbruck is varied and individual.

Panorama Christmas market on the Hungerburg (16 November to 23 December 2019)
The Christmas market on the Hungerburg is the highest in Innsbruck. It may be small but, with its stunning panoramic views over the city, it’s quite magnificent. With the Hungerburgbahn funicular it’s just a 10-minute ride up from the city centre straight to the viewing point, which offers wonderful views over the city ablaze with Christmas lights. This is a very special highlight.

St. Nikolaus Christmas market (22 November to 23 December 2019) 
This small market in St. Nikolaus, Innsbruck’s oldest district, is located on the north side of the River Inn and is just a few minutes from the Hungerburgbahn’s Löwenhaus station. The atmosphere here is traditionally contemplative, and the peace and quiet can offer a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle elsewhere. The Christmas market is characterised by its atmospheric music, home-baked biscuits and a peaceful, homely atmosphere set against the backdrop of the colourful buildings along the River Inn. If you fancy a bit of exercise, instead of returning on the Hungerburgbahn you can walk back down, but make sure you’re wearing sturdy shoes. The lovely walk takes you past the Alpine Zoo, and in about an hour you’ll find yourself at the St. Nikolaus Christmas market.

Christmas market on the Market Place (15 November to 23 December 2019)
This market brings a real sparkle to the eyes of the youngest visitors. Families appreciate the large range of attractions for children – from the puppet theatre, carousel and story time to the traditional Jaufenthal crib. The 15-metre high, sparkling Swarovski Christmas tree with the giant star on top shines out over the colourful market.

Christmas market in the Old Town (15 November to 23 December 2019)
The city’s oldest and largest Christmas market under the impressive, atmospherically lit Christmas tree in front of the Golden Roof has an irresistible nostalgic appeal. Beneath the ‘Milky Way’ people meet up to enjoy a mulled wine and cheese noodles. More than 70 stalls offer arts and crafts and Christmas tree decorations. The Fairy Tale and Giants’ Alley invites children of all ages to delve into a world full of fantasy. And, as you look down from the viewing platform, it’s as though you’re floating above the Old Town and the market.

Christmas market in Maria-Theresien-Strasse (25 November 2019 to 6 January 2020) 
A sparkling avenue of crystal trees from the world leader in Christmas lights, with its headquarters in Innsbruck, frames the market in Maria-Theresien-Strasse where, as you would expect, you’ll find exceptional Christmas products from all over the world.

Wilten Christmas magic (25 November to 21 December 2019)
This market offers a dazzling array of cultural items and regional food with an unmistakable Tyrolean flair. The delightful atmosphere of the Wiltener Platzl bathed in lantern light, with small independent shops and market stalls, makes the market a popular place to meet up after work for lots of Innsbruckers.

And if you walk on a little further to the foot of the Bergisel ski jump, you’ll come to the “Kaiser Christmas”, Innsbruck’s most recent Christmas market. Traditional arts and crafts, creative children’s programmes, local musicians and Christmas delicacies make this the perfect place to enjoy yourself at your leisure.

Shining stars, enchanting angels, impressive crystal trees
But it’s not only the markets that spread the spirit of Christmas. During the festive season the whole of Innsbruck, dressed up in all its Christmas finery, is an inspiration to visitors and the sparkling lights are as striking as the markets. In the Old Town, for example, artistic chandeliers hover above the romantic streets, and in the city centre you’ll come across resplendent angels and hearts as well as colourful crystal trees decorated with sparkling lights. Framed by winter-white, snow-capped mountain peaks, Innsbruck looks just like a Christmas winter wonderland from a picture book.

Must see: Lightshow Mount Magic in the Imperial Palace (27 November 2019 – 19 January 2020)
A very special highlight enhances the pre-Christmas programme in Innsbruck when the inner courtyard of Innsbruck’s Imperial Palace provides a unique backdrop for audiovisual 3D light projections. Last year the Lightshow Max500 brought Emperor Maximilian I back to life, and this year at the Lightshow Mount Magic it’s the mountains and the forces of nature which are to be the protagonists in a brilliant light spectacle. Impressive XXL-format effects allow visitors to immerse themselves in worlds of imagination. But if you’ve missed the Lightshow Max500, you can catch it this year because the new programme is being offered twice a day at 5.30 pm and 6.30 pm, and the end of the Maximilian anniversary year is being celebrated again with the lightshow Max500 at 7.30 pm.

Sparkling wonderworlds at Swarovski Crystal Worlds

Just a few kilometres away, the winter is lit up at Swarovski Crystal Worlds. From 28 November to 6 January, the Winter Wonderland in the Giant has some special festive attractions such as magical light figures, interactive light installations and a Christmas tree with the Crystal Star, designed by Tord Boontje, visible from far and wide.

A dazzling way to see in the New Year: water light show and fireworks

The New Year will also be celebrated in Innsbruck with plenty of sparkle. This year, for the first time, a new highlight is being added to the now traditional fireworks display on the Seegrube mountain at an altitude of 2,000 metres. A water, light and sound show will place the focus of the festivities on the mist enshrouded River Inn, ensuring that the New Year gets off to a sparkling, spectacular start.

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